By Amin Kef-Ranger
It is a glaring fact that the current war between Russia and Ukraine is impinging negatively on the easy accessibility of petroleum products, mainly petrol and diesel, by Oil Marketing Companies globally. The reason could not be too farfetched from the position that Russia is a major producer and supplier of petroleum products on which most advanced and developing countries heavily rely on to secure those products.
Sierra Leone is just one ,among many other countries in the world, that is bearing the brunt evident in the scarcity of those products at Filling Stations seen in long queues, the frequent increases in price of fuel within a very short period and the hike in transportation cost with the cascading effect on increasing prices of basic commodities.
It is important to give such a backdrop because there are some shortsighted or ill-informed individuals in the country who, out of myopic views, are creating the impression that the long queues seen at Filling Stations is as a result of a deliberate ploy on the part of oil marketing companies in this country to create artificial scarcity, out of greed and avarice, with the intention of increasing the prices of petroleum products in order to maximize more profits at the expense of ordinary citizens.
The leading importer and marketer of petroleum products in the country, NP-SL Ltd has not been spared that allegation which in its entirety is completely baseless and unfounded. It is on record that when the Russia-Ukraine war began having tell-tale impacts globally, NP-SL Ltd, as an oil marketing entity was badly impacted. Since then the company has been making strenuous efforts to secure petroleum products on the world market to ensure that they are available in the country for sale. In trying to do so the business entity has incurred huge losses.
For those who are of the view that NP-SL Ltd secures petroleum products in Sierra Leone for marketing purposes such an assumption is totally erroneous. The company purchases those products in Switzerland, from its reliable supplier, import them and offload them at the Kissy Terminal for onward distribution countrywide.
This brings to the fore the fact that in the transaction, the company uses the Dollar and not the Leone. Accessing the Dollar means exchanging too many Leones as a result of the sharp depreciation of the Leone to the Dollar and for NP-SL Ltd that has been a perennial challenge even before the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war. In a country where the Leone keeps plummeting frequently such is putting a strain on the company in two ways, not getting the required quantity and secondly costing the company much to pay for the same quantity as opposed to less than what it used to pay.
Against all the aforementioned, the Shareholders of NP-SL Ltd, all being private individuals, which makes the company a 100% indigenous business entity, as well as the Management are of the strong conviction that they must do all within their reach to ensure that petroleum products are available in the country.
It is an established fact that even in these trying times, when there are uncertainties plaguing the oil industry, NP-SL Ltd has managed as the only oil marketing company in the country to be intermittently supplying and marketing fuel on a rational basis to ensure that the products are available, though they might not be readily accessible as it is supposed to be.
For now, NP-SL is the only company at the moment that has AGO gas and diesel in the country.
It is also on record that since January 2022 to date, the company imported 112,491,596 metric tonnes of fuel costing over $111M.
What is also not logical is for some to blame the Government for the crisis painting the picture that it is its inaction which is causing undue suffering with others calling for subsidy to be placed on petroleum products. However, it must be noted that the issue of subsidy has been a thorny one as the International Monetary Fund frowns on it and there ia school of thought which holds the view that it will place a heavy financial burden on the Government which is already cash strapped to fund other important development projects.
What is sure for now is that the Management of NP-SL Ltd is doggedly committed to continue doing the good work it has been doing, which is to ensure that petroleum products are available at all times.
Management of the company is of the view that as long as they are doing what is right now nothing will discourage the company from continuing to make petroleum products available in the country.
Being an indigenous company that cherishes its numerous customers, NP-SL Ltd, over the years, has placed high premium on customer care to such an extent that it has earned the enviable reputation of 1st for Customer Care.
The company offers for sale NP Gas. For those who have not tried NP Gas for the first time it is now time to give it a try. Designed in sizable varying cylinders and sold at various NP Filling Stations, this cooking device has been rated as one of the best that is on offer for sale. NP Gas is safe, user friendly and portable. Trying it will spur you to recommend it to others.
NP Smart Card is now in vogue and is one of the latest technological devices used to purchase petroleum products. Using it has attendant advantages as evident in procuring fuel at any time of the day even during times when monies could not be accessed from banks. It is secured, easy to use and very quick. It is now trending.
To crystallize proposed projects into tangible realities on the ground, Government needs the required financial resources to effectively do so and one sure way is from collection of taxes which is the mandate of the National Revenue Authority (NRA). NP is one of the big tax payers to Government and it has been doing so timely.
Having a presence in Guinea, Liberia, Ivory Coast and The Gambia, NP-Ltd, is doggedly committed to continue scaling up efforts to access petroleum products in order for the public to have easy access to these products. The company is highly capitalized, is not part of any mafia cartel but rather operates transparently and according to the dictates of the forces of supply and demand.